Friday, June 11, 2021

Life on Mars

Mars 2020 Mission is a 3D interactive map of Mars, developed by the Spatial Studies Lab at Rice University, which is being used to track the Perseverance Rover on Mars. Using this 3D map you can follow the progress of the Perseverance Rover on Mars and view all the latest images captured by the rover and the Perseverance drone.

NASA's 2020 Mars mission is examining the geology of Mars looking for the biosignatures of past microbial life on the red planet. In order to carry out this mission the Perseverance Rover is equipped with the Ingenuity helicopter drone. The Ingenuity drone is being used to help scout for points of interest for the Perseverance rover to investigate and study during its exploration of Mars.

The date control at the top of the Mars 2020 Mission map allows you to view the movements of the Perseverance Rover and the Ingenuity drone over the course of the mission's duration. If you select a date on this control the markers on the 3D map of Mars will show where Perseverance and Ingenuity were located on that day. When you select a day from the date control the image gallery also updates to display the images captured by the drone and rover on the selected day.

You can select an image from the sidebar gallery to view it in a larger window. This larger window will also provide information about which camera captured the image and the time and date of when it was captured. One of my favorite features of the map is the 360 degree option. Click on the 360 degree button and you can view an interactive panoramic 'Street View' image of Mars. I think there may be only one 360 degree image available as changing the date on the main map doesn't seem to change the panoramic image shown.

You can also follow the progress of the Perseverance rover on Mars using NASA's Perseverance's Location interactive map. This map also shows Perseverance and Ingenuity's current location and the track of the Perseverance's movements during the mission. If you open the layer's menu you can also select to view the Ingenuity helicopter's flight paths on Mars.

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